Culture & Competency

Collaboration Thinking – Recent News (Tuesday, May 4)

Six Fundamentals of Effective Collaboration
Chris takes a shot at defining the 6 fundamentals of effective collaboration.
1. Engagement … as in active listening.
2. Keeping It Real … be authentic during interactions.
3. A Bias for Learning and Discovery … resolve ambiguity, surface new perspectives
4. Respect for Community Members … respect their time, and the value they bring.
5. Drive a Positive Vibe … an upbeat work dynamic.
6. Focus on Results … champion real outcomes.

Chris writes,

I’ve been grappling with collaboration for a couple decades now, usually in the context of IT projects in corporate silos that seems designed to shut down cross-functional collaboration. The hardest part was watching talented people lose motivation in the midst of their best efforts to overcome resistance.

I think it’s going to be different now. In the new 2.0 world, social technology amplifies the collaborative trend, accelerates its impact and expands its reach. We need to understand and embrace the steps above if we hope to survive, let alone compete, in the Knowledge Economy. Hold on tight. In a world of exponential growth trends, 2010 should rock WAY more than 2009.

The Downside of Collaboration
Stephen lists three downsides of collaboration:
1. it can create false confidence about value and accuracy.
2. it can be used as a short-cut, thereby reducing effectiveness.
3. “collaboration” may not be required in all situations.

The shift to collaborative services is underway. My view is that collaboration will have significant effects on how individuals obtain and think about information. I also have a nagging thought that collaboration raises some hurdles for security, efficiency, and business processes.

I have pointed out that in the present economic climate “Enterprise 2.0” chatter does little to address the problems generated by “Enterprise 1.0” companies. Now the chase is on for the “collaborative enterprise.” Last time I checked in Louisville, Kentucky, there were office vacancies galore, increasing pressure on small businesses, and a heck of a lot of people without much hope for employment.

Buzzwords are useful, but I think more is needed.

The Collaboration Continuum
Pankaj from HyperOffice proposes three levels of technology for collaboration: freeform, workspace, and highly structured.
– freeform, for temporary groups (“groups of people just need to get together for a task, finish the task, and move their respective ways. The emphasis is on highly intuitive, powerful, and simple tools, which all group members can access from anywhere to get work done“)
– workspace offerings, for small businesses (“ideally suited for small to medium sized companies around the size of 500 employees or at the departmental level, where the need for speed and simplicity overweigh the need for policy control or compliance. Nor is there a need for intricately customized solutions“)
– highly structured, for enterprises (“highly structured collaboration solutions which reflect a “mechanistic” organizational structure. The emphasis is not on simplicity, but power. The main proponents of this approach are MS SharePoint and Lotus Notes“)

A Taxonomy of Collaboration Tools
Lokesh proposes a taxonomy of collaboration tools.

Simply put, taxonomy provides order and structure to chaos in the jungle of collaboration tools. As we know, hundreds if not thousands of collaboration tools are available. It seems a new collaboration tool is announced every few weeks, let alone the multitude of upgrades for existing tools. Enormous number of tools certainly does not help appropriate tool selection for collaboration, based on the context on hand. This is where taxonomy comes to the rescue.

There are four major groupings:
– Communication tools
– Organization tools
– Writing / Editing tools
– Engaging and Networking tools

Categories: Culture & Competency